Ameriprise Advisor Review
Ameriprise is a brokerage and investment advisor firm with over $1.7 trillion AUM. We review its advisor services here.
Ameriprise is a financial services and advisory firm. One of the oldest and largest companies in the industry, it offers a range of services, including wealth management, asset management, and estate planning. The company also ranks highly in its customers’ eyes, placing fifth in J.D. Power’s 2023 Investor Satisfaction Study.
This page will offer a comprehensive overview of Ameriprise’s financial advisor services. We’ll explain the typical types of clients it serves, as well as break down the products the company offers. You’ll also learn about the fee structures the firm uses and the disclosures it has on its Form ADV.
Assets Under Management
Number of Advisors
James M. Cracchiolo
55 Ameriprise Financial Center
Minneapolis, MN 55474
Pros and Cons of Ameriprise
- Upholds a fiduciary duty
- First appointment is free
- Low account minimums
- Offers various managed account solutions, both on a discretionary and non-discretionary basis
- Has a team of advisory professionals with high-quality credentials, such as CFP, CFA, and ChFC
- Has over 100 disclosures
- Fee structures are complex and vary significantly
- While it offers financial planning, it heavily focuses on portfolio management
Types of Clients
Ameriprise offers eight managed financial advisor products, which it dubs “advisory solutions.” Each falls under a specific category, depending on whether they’re driven by a client, manager, or advisor. We’ll touch more on the individual products in the next section; however, each category requires a minimum investment, sometimes per account and sometimes by household.
The account minimums for each category are:
|Type of Service||Minimum Investment|
|Client-directed||$2,000 per account and $25,000 per household|
|Manager-directed||$5,000 to $500,000 per account|
|Advisor-directed||$2,000 per account and $100,000 per household|
Financial Advisor Services
As mentioned, Ameriprise provides three main categories of managed advisory services: client-directed, manager-directed, and advisor-directed. These allow you to gain all-in-one access to both an advisor and the investment products for which the company is also well-known. Under each, are one or more investment programs. Two categories involve giving a financial advisor or portfolio manager discretionary power over your investments. This means they will take care of trades, select investments, and perform rebalancing measures over time to manage risk.
Below is a full breakdown of the three categories and the programs housed within them:
With an initial investment of $2,000 per account and $25,000 per household, you get to work directly with a financial advisor to build your portfolio. They will help you develop a personalized strategy and apply appropriate risk management techniques, such as asset allocation and diversification.
The investment program within the client-driven approach is Strategic Portfolio Service (SPS) Advantage. Under this program, you retain full control over your investment portfolio. Your advisor will work in a purely non-discretionary role. SPS Advantage includes the following investment options:
Shane Weisman, APMA, CRPC, and Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise, highlights that “[while] the infrastructure is there” for client-directed products, the company “is primarily built to be an advisor-driven investment management platform.” However, he notes, “That being said, trading and investment research is available to all clients for those that want to utilize those tools.”
After meeting the minimum investment range of $5,000 to $500,000, you’ll be able to work with your advisory professional to appoint an investment manager to oversee your portfolio. According to Ameriprise’s website, this person will hold a discretionary role and will be able to make “ongoing” trades on your behalf.
The six programs under this umbrella offer investment options such as mutual funds and ETFs, as well as separately managed and unified managed accounts. Below is a list of the available programs:
- Active Portfolios® investments
- Select ETF Portfolios
- Select Separate Account
- Vista Separate Account
- Investor Unified Account
- Select Strategist UMA Portfolios
Weisman says, “If utilizing [manager-directed products], the advisor would be responsible for choosing an appropriate platform relative to the client’s risk tolerance, financial plan and investment objectives, but is otherwise uninvolved in investment management beyond monitoring, once the platform is implemented.”
You’ll get access to the SPS Advisor investment program if you meet the $2,000 per account and $100,000 per household minimum. With this, you get a dedicated financial advisor who will manage and maintain your portfolio in a discretionary capacity.
Under the advisor-directed arrangement, according to Weisman, an advisor will “build a portfolio relative to the client’s risk tolerance, financial plan and investment objectives, rebalance the account when appropriate and monitor the holdings to ensure they remain the best options available.” He continues, “If the advisor is accredited to trade with discretion, he/she can initiate trades whenever determined appropriate, without receiving verbal approval from the client, so long as the allocation continues to be in line with client objectives.”
Since the SPS Advisor product demands heavy involvement from your financial advisor, it’s likely best if you prefer a more hands-off approach. It’s also important to note that, in essence, you’re placing your trust in an individual to put your best interest at the forefront and make the best decisions for your portfolio based on the goals and risk tolerance you’ve given them.
This package includes five investment options, which your advisor may use when assembling and maintaining your portfolio:
- Mutual funds
- Structured products
Advisory fees at Ameriprise vary based on the services you’re receiving. If you choose to receive ongoing financial planning services, the fees you’ll pay may look one of two ways. It could be a flat cost that you pay on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis or it could be based on the dollar amount of assets under management (AUM). The company notes that your first consultation with a financial advisor won’t cost anything. It also says that you’ll be able to monitor up to two goals for free online.
The company uses a wrap fee structure for the advisory products we listed in the previous section. This means you’ll pay a single annual fee for all the services and costs associated with your account, including for advice, brokerage services, trading fees, and fund maintenance fees. As per the Client Relationship Summary (CRS), your rate will depend on your AUM and will go up as your portfolio’s value appreciates.
Ameriprise’s Investment Philosophy
Financial advisors often try to learn more about your unique situation and the objectives you aim to achieve. Upon sitting down with an Ameriprise advisor, you can expect to have similar conversations.
While the company doesn’t outline a specific investment philosophy its managers and advisory professionals follow, it does lay out six primary investment principles. You could use these to infer the strategies and risk mitigation techniques Ameriprise’s professionals practice. While the full version is available on the company’s website, the principles involve incorporating smart practices, such as:
- Considering the long-term future.
- Remembering your risk tolerance.
- Utilizing strategies like diversification and asset allocation.
- Taking an occasional step back and then rebalancing your portfolio to keep it in line with your goals.
Ameriprise is both a brokerage and registered investment advisor (RIA) firm registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). To maintain accountability with both the public and the oversight agencies, the company must keep a record of all regulatory and disciplinary events on its Form ADV as disclosures. These could be administrative issues, criminal proceedings, or arbitrations.
Per FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Ameriprise Financial Services LLC has 180 total disclosures. 78 are regulatory events, while 101 are arbitrations between the firm and a client. The final disclosure is a civil event. The company’s Form ADV indicates that, in the past ten years, at least one of the company’s advisory affiliates has pled guilty and been charged with a felony and misdemeanor.
If you would like to contact customer support or find out more about the services it offers, Ameriprise provides a range of methods:
- Ameriprise’s contact page
- SPS Advantage, Brokerage, and Ameriprise One account inquiries – (800) 862-7919
- All other investment inquiries – using the main phone number
- Website support – using the main phone number
Aside from calling or using the company’s website, you can also try visiting an advisor in person.
How to Get Started with Ameriprise
A good place to start if you’re interested in working with Ameriprise is going to its website. From there, you’ll be able to locate an advisor who operates in your area. You’ll also be able to read more in-depth about the products and services they offer and how much you can expect to pay or need to invest to get started.
Because the firm offers the first discussion for free, you could also try scheduling an appointment with an advisor. This is a great (and free) way to get a stronger feel about how well you like the company.
Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor Firm
Picking a financial advisor is a big life decision. This is often an individual you’ll work with for years. For this reason, you’ll need to prioritize someone who understands your goals and who has substantial experience serving clients. It’s also a good sign if they have credentials such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP), as these will be the ones who abide by a fiduciary duty and put your interests first.
When selecting a firm, a key factor will be account minimums. Some firms only serve high-net-worth clients, while others serve a larger range. In Ameriprise’s case, whether you can meet certain minimums can dictate the type of account you set up and, by extension, the services you’ll receive.
One way you can find a financial professional or firm that suits your needs is by comparing local options. This matching tool asks you a short list of questions and then presents you with up to three financial advisors in your area.
The information in this review is based on publicly available information directly from Ameriprise’s website, the SEC, and FINRA. We’ve also included excerpts from an interview with a company representative. However, neither the firm nor its representatives have any say on what we’ve included on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Ameriprise a good company to invest with?
Ameriprise offers a collection of advisor services and investment products. In a recent study by J.D. Power, it also ranked as a top five financial services company. But whether it’s good for you hinges on the services you require. For example, many of the firm’s products include granting a professional, either a manager or advisor, discretionary authority over your portfolio, along with a very specific set of investment selections. This may work for some but not for others.
Are financial advisors worth it?
Whether or not an advisory expert is worth the cost will depend on your situation. For those with a high net worth, it can be valuable to have someone share their knowledge, allowing peace of mind. It can also be helpful to hire an advisor to help you reach various life goals more comfortably, like buying a home, putting kids through college, and retiring on time.
Is Ameriprise a fiduciary?
Because it’s registered with the SEC as an investment advisor, anyone employed at the company who is registered as an investment advisor representative (IAR) must act as a fiduciary. On its website, Ameriprise also clarifies that its professionals often carry professional designations, including Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). People with these titles often sign an agreement with their respective organizations to uphold a fiduciary duty to clients.
Find a Financial Advisor
Take our quiz and be matched with up to 3 vetted fiduciary financial advisors serving your area. It's fast, free, and no-obligation.Compare Vetted Advisors